The baritone saxophone would seem to be less a wieldy horn than the soprano, alto, and tenor, but on Night the Buenos Aires-born, Israel-raised, and New York-residing Eden Bareket plays with a remarkable degree of agility. With the saxist joined by his brother Or on bass and Felix Lecaros on drums, the nine-track set, recorded near the end of 2017 at New Jersey’s Bacque Recording Studios, presents many an opportunity for Eden to showcase his abilities when the trio format positions him front and center. Interestingly, he started on alto at the age of nine before switching to baritone six years later. He eventually studied at the Israeli Conservatory for Music in Tel Aviv and participated in the Jazz & Creative Music workshop at the Banff Center in Canada before moving to New York in 2013 and establishing himself as both sideman and leader, Night the follow-up to his 2016 debut Choice.
The melodies sing and the music rouses from the drop, as “Birds” shows when Eden drapes his register-spanning lines across an equally limber backing by his partners. With three players only taking part, room for soloing is plentiful, and with Or and Lecaros enthusiastically embracing the opportunity Eden’s afforded moments to catch his breath (he takes a rare unaccompanied turn on “Intro / Looking for a Way Out” for a short exercise in circular breathing). While clear compositional identities are established, the pieces don’t in any way handicap the freedom of the musicians’ expressions, even if the tracks rarely push past the five-minute mark.
For “Night Creatures,” he fashioned the material to suggest the covert emergence of nocturnal creatures, but the thing you’ll remember more is the acrobatic freewheeling of the trio as it navigates the twists and turns of the composition and the sinuous flow of the leader. It’s hard to know what exact creature Eden had in mind when he composed “Canadian Sea Monster,” but the trio’s silky smooth execution suggests one with slinky and surreptitious tendencies. “Baccatum” relocates the trio to Peru for an infectiously swinging romp that twists a dance rhythm known as ‘Festejo’ into 5/4 shape, whereas the album closer “You’re Wrong” weaves funk and R&B into its sleek frame. Night isn’t always so boisterous, as Eden and company lower the intensity for a sultry reading of Matti Caspi’s “Lost Melody” (the sole non-original) and “Children’s Play,” which exudes the joy and feel of an African dance though gently.
Eden’s developed a clever method for expanding on the possibilities the baritone offers by playing bass lines with one hand and melodies in the higher altissimo range with the other, evidence of which is heard a number of times on the recording. A multilayered attack results that not only maximizes the percussive and melodic potential of the instrument, it also enables him to create the illusion of two saxophonists playing as opposed to one only. At forty minutes, Night is concise yet still long enough to offer a clear representation of Eden’s talents.